A friend and I hiked the Whitney trail on October 12th. This was our first attempt. We car camped in the overflow lot on the 11th after a night of acclimatizing at Horseshoe Meadows on the 10th. At Doug's suggestion we departed at 3:15 am (instead of a 2 am contemplated departure) and were greeted with a moonlit night and brilliant stars. As he hiked up and through Outpost Camp we witnessed Orion and the Big Dipper streaking across the horizon. We turned off headlamps for stretches as the night light was sufficient and the night sky spectacular.
The multiple water crossings on the way up were innocuous and easy to navigate. Grabbed an extra liter of water at or around Outpost camp (can't quite remember). That said, there are plenty of water sources on the way up.
It was a cold morning; due to sweat I was cold up and through Trail Camp at which point the sun came up (~7 am). We re-filled to 3 liters of water here at the stream trickling into the small lake there. At this point I put on my 4th layer, a windbreaker, and donned my full hat/neckie with a wool cap on top. With the rising sun, things warmed up at that point as we ascended the switchbacks. Doing these in the cold and dark of the night would have probably been difficult! Counting them was fun; some stretches between switchbacks are definitely longer than others. There were some icy spots at the rails that were easy to sidestep. By the mid-90s I lost count as it was clear there was another ~300 feet of elevation gain to reach in order to make Trail Crest.
Wind picked up at Trail Crest as we navigated the backside making our final push. We reached the summit at 9:50 and enjoyed a brilliant, crisp morning. Not nearly as windy as mountain-forecast.com predicted. Spent about a half hour up top, relishing in the accomplishment following 12 weeks of training.
Coming down, things warmed up progressively. Multiple layers came off until I ended up with just my wicking base. Scenery on the way down was spectacular, something we totally missed on the way up due to the dark! Got back to the portal at 4:15.
All in, this was an amazing life experience. Looking forward to my next Whitney adventure. Hoping to secure an overnight permit so I can spend on night on the mountain.
Thank you so much to everyone that posts here; the tips and insights were invaluable in our preparation.
Edited by dandreahiker (10/14/17 08:27 AM)